News ID: 265339
Published: 1208 GMT February 07, 2020

Iran says ready to mediate between Syria, Turkey over Idlib crisis

Iran says ready to mediate between Syria, Turkey over Idlib crisis

Iranian ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday that his country as one of the guarantors of the Astana process is ready to do its best to settle the conflicts between Turkey and Syria in Idlib Province in northwestern Syria.

"Iran is ready to do its best to settle differences between Damascus and Ankara over developments in Idlib Province," Majid Takht-Ravanchi said at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in Idlib, IRNA reported.

Pointing to Iran’s unwavering determination in campaign against terrorism, the ambassador warned against the dire situation in Idlib, stressing that the crisis in Syria’s northwestern province should not get out of control.

Stressing the need for the political settlement of the crisis in Idlib, the Iranian envoy said, “We should not allow the terrorists to stabilize their positions in Idlib, or more civilians will be killed.

"Situation in the region is worrisome, so, we must try to prevent the crisis from being uncontrollable."

He emphasized the necessity for a continued fight against terrorism in Syria, adding, “Everyone must respect Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and independence.”

Takht-Ravanchi also described an upcoming meeting of the Astana peace process in Tehran as a good opportunity to address the situation in Syria.

The three mediators of the Astana peace process on Syria – Russia, Turkey and Iran – held the 14th round of the talks on December 10-11 in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, during which they expressed concern about the presence of terrorist groups in Idlib, underlining the need for restoration of peace to the northwestern Syrian province.

In recent days, tensions have escalated between Syria and Turkey in Idlib.

On Thursday, Damascus denounced the near-simultaneous deployment of Turkish military forces to Syria’s Idlib and the recent Israeli air aggression against the Arab country.

Turkey has sent nearly 150 vehicles with commandos and ammunition to bolster its observation outposts in Idlib, where an intensified offensive is underway by the Syrian Army forces against foreign-backed terrorist outfits.

A Turkish security source said they were only to reinforce the 12 existing posts established under a 2018 deal with Russia, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported Friday.

Under the deal between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran aimed at reducing violence, Turkey agreed to set up a dozen observation posts in Idlib and neighboring provinces.

Despite Ankara’s commitments under the agreement, a number of Russian troops were recently killed during attacks launched by militants from Turkey’s de-escalation zone in Idlib.

“There has recently been a dangerous increase in tension and a surge of violence in Idlib,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, adding, “Russian and Turkish military experts were tragically killed” there, without giving a toll, Press TV reported.

The Russian ministry said Idlib-based militants had staged “more than 1,000 attacks in the last two weeks of January” from a Turkish-controlled de-escalation zone in the flashpoint province. It stressed that most of the attacks had been conducted by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group.

The Syrian Army has already regained almost all territories once controlled by terrorists, except portions of Aleppo and large swaths of Idlib, the last stronghold of terrorists, particularly the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Turkey said on Friday three of its outposts in Idlib – all in the southeastern part of the region – have now been encircled by the Syrian government troops.

The so-called Syrian Observatory of Human Rights monitor said Wednesday that Turkish troops at another position in Saraqib had shelled Syrian forces to prevent it from being surrounded.

Turkey and Russia have worked closely in recent years to resolve the situation in Idlib despite being on opposing sides of the conflict.

The Turkish source cited by Anadolu Agency insisted that coordination with Russia remained strong and that joint patrols in northeastern Syria were only canceled earlier this week due to "heavy weather conditions."

A delegation from the Russian Foreign Ministry is expected in Turkey on Saturday for further talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Friday.



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